The Cumberland Throw

From The Stands – Harnessing The Passion

That Bulldogs clash. Who’da thunk it?

Those of us in the stands who’ve witnessed many fierce Eels v Bulldogs clashes could probably see and predict at half-time what was going to happen. So, if we want to, this game can be a wonderful moment to learn and we can become a better team from playing in it.

While it is right to point out errors in our game, it is also to important to remember two simple facts.

First, we have a young spine who are learning their craft. Moses, Dylan Brown and Reed all made mistakes, went the wrong way or put the wrong kick in on a number of occasions.

Moses

If we want to improve as a team these boys have to be given the opportunity to play footy together and that means they will make mistakes and some will be costly. As a supporter base we can not ask for young kids to be given a go and then get upset when they make rookie errors. I know Moses is no rookie but one poor game after three months of solid football is forgivable.

Second, and this is important, we called throughout last year, and even after some games this year, for our team to play with passion and energy, to let us know they care.

Well they certainly did that against the Bulldogs. It was ill-directed but it was there in spades.

What went wrong? Or to repeat the question from a wise person, “Why, why?”

They played into the Bulldogs hands, they took the game down into the gutter, just where the Dogs needed it to go. We willingly played the Dogs their way and paid the price. To become a better team who can win games in the finals we must be able to harness our passion and play to our strengths, not to our oppostion’s.

A pumped up Brown

There has been much discussion about Nathan Brown and his ill discipline during the game. We all saw the shoulder charge that connected and the others that missed.

My reaction at the game was surprise as he simply seemed to be on a mindless mission to get sent off and no one either could, or tried, to calm him down.

My reaction driving home was disappointment as I feared a big suspension and I know how important Brown is to our team and how much he loves playing footy. 

But with time my reaction has changed to support.

To be clear my views are very precise on his tackle, it was not a tough shot, it was a dangerous cheap shot and if that had been done to one of our play makers I would be filthy.

But Nathan Brown will play in our finals match because he has been able to play tough, aggressive, team inspiring footy at Parra since his arrival and despite his aggressive play, he has had no previous charges and thus no loading. He has been able to consistently inspire his team and fan base with aggressive, tough footy for 50 games at Parra without stepping over that fine line between aggression and illegal shots.

Last Thursday was the one game he has stepped over, or rather sprinted over, the line but as a fan it does not make me forget all the other wonderful team performances he has put in.

From the stands Nathan Brown does not need to make amends for last Thursday, he just needs to make sure it does not happen again. He is our forward leader and if he wants to be a good one he must be able to control himself. He is skilful and tough and does not need that rubbish in his game.

My son Jack has two favourite players, one is Nathan Brown. On Friday morning my tired son asked me why Brown was so angry.  I guess he is the only one that can answer that and he must do so. He must ensure that rubbish is removed from his game as I know I won’t accept it, and I doubt our fan base and NRL will be so lenient if he repeats those antics again.

And after this past week, I reckon we’re all pretty clear about Nonna’s opinion.

Shelley

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JonBoy
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JonBoy

Well said Shelley… It is so easy to get caught up with the hype and excitement about playing finals footy. As fans, we are all trying to forget about 2018 and certainly from my own perspective I know that games like this one very quickly drag me back to that dark and miserable place. But reason and logic do return after a few days and I appreciate the changes that have (in the most part) been implemented by pretty much the same group of players. The youthfulness of our team and the learnings they are collecting help me to reconcile… Read more »

sixties
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Nailed it JonBoy.

shelley
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shelley

I have seen so much improvement this year, but there is still a way to go. As long as I continue to see our team evolve and improve I will be happy. One game does or does not make a season.

Colin Hussey
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Colin Hussey

Shelley a good post as usual. Just a couple of comments, 1: While we have a young group, I would discount MM in that aspect, yes he’s only 24 but he turns 25 next month just before the 2nd round of the finals, at this age he’s and how long he’s been playing in the half position he is no rookie unlike Mahoney and Dylan. As such he holds a key and vital spot in the team and needs to be showing and leading the two beside him. In saying that he would have learnt from the dogs game as… Read more »

sixties
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Colin, some added thoughts.
1. This time last year.(enough said)
2. This squad, regardless of weaknesses, (and I agree about the bench not bringing what we need last couple of games) will be playing finals footy.
3. The recruitment is aiming at forwards.
I’m also against using Gutho to cover for Reed, but until they deem Stone ready for that role, I don’t see it changing.

shelley
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shelley

I don’t dislike the resting in games with Reed as playing 80 is not my concern with him, but a quality 80 minutes is. I don’t like using Gutho there and like many I hope we see Reed play 80 in a final and or have a replacement on the bench to give him a spell. I think we need another option that does not involve Gutho in case Reed is injured early in a game. Ultimately BA will make that choice and will be the one answerable if it goes wrong.

BDon
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BDon

Ditto Shelley, I would have liked to hear from Nathan Brown about how that went wrong, because I didn’t feel like he warranted any criticism from me. Ray Price came under fire occasionally but what I saw that bloke soak up game after game, year after year disqualified me from ever bagging him. Respect is earned and is bankable, rugby league is no place for perfection. I still reckon Ponga(on Gutherson) was a shoulder charge, maybe Nathan was going for new legal version created by Ponga, just put your leading arm out a bit and it’s all OK.

shelley
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shelley

Ponga’s tackle was a shoulder charge. The NRL continues to make the same mistakes over and over again. With Slater and last years grand final charge they doubled down and said the decision was right and it has now created this ridiculous precedent.

pete
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pete

Good read Shelley. The game against Dogs was a very physical hit out. Bulldogs have a big strong pack and they’re in form. Foran, Jackson were the real difference they and a few others were playing for their future. We on the other hand had been reading the papers all week about finals football. I’m always nervous about positive news stories before a game… We probably didn’t roll our sleeves up enough and kept going around instead of through them. At first I thought resting Reed was a good thing but because we don’t have an effective plan when he’s… Read more »

Shelley
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Shelley

I agree with the statement on Reed. Can see why we are resting him but we are weakening a key position for about 15-20 minutes to help another. I was not upset with the defeat just hope we learn from it.

Milo
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Milo

Interesting read Shelley once again and i thank you for the great input. I actually liked N Browns passion last week and yes it does need to be curbed in terms of using arms to tackle…but i love the bloke and wish we had one or two more players like him. We are going to miss him and i am concerned about this as i feel we lack some grunt; and this comes to my next point. I feel we need at least 3 recruits in the forwards; preferably 2 strong backrowers and one v strong prop. I also think… Read more »